A Regional Vision for College, Career & Citizenship Readiness for Central New York

EarthThe world has changed.  Work has changed.  Technology has changed.  Communication has changed.  The pace of the world has changed.  Interconnectedness has changed.  Collaboration has changed.  Just about everything has changed on this planet.

This means that education must change, too.  Teacher-directed, desks-in-rows, coverage-oriented classrooms are no longer the kind of classroom for this planet.  Maybe there are other planets that haven’t changed, but this one has.  Continue reading

Praise the Performance or Praise the Effort?

Image source: blog.thelearningpartnership.ca

I was recently introduced to the work of Dr. Carolyn Dweck, professor at Stanford University and author of the book Mindsets. In her book, Dr. Dweck describes two types of people, those with a growth mindset and those with a fixed mindset. An individual with a fixed mindset characteristically sees intelligence as static. They are afraid to try new things for fear of failing. A person with a growth mindset sees intelligence as something that can be nurtured and developed. They are more willing to take chances and see failure as a means for opportunity. This short youtube clip sums up the characteristics of each type nicely. Watch the video Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Close Reading (Sometimes) of Complex Text

TriangleI have been reading and thinking quite a bit about text complexity in the last couple of weeks in preparation for a series of workshops on the subject. Inevitably, when talking with teachers about text complexity and the expectation of the Common Core Learning Standards that students will read text at a certain level of difficulty, I am finding that the issue of close reading also comes up. Although certainly related, complex text and close reading are NOT the same thing. The complexity of a text has to do with a number of quantitative and qualitative factors, including the reader and the how the text is being used. (Appendix A of the Common Core Standards has a good explanation.) Close reading is one way of reading text—any level of text—to dig into the layers of meaning that the text holds. Here is one definition of close reading from Implementing the Common Core Continue reading

Brrr, Winter is Here

SowShoeingIt’s time for us to accept that winter is upon us.  Part of me is ready to grab the blanket and get ready to hibernate on the couch.  Then I start thinking about all the new opportunities this season brings. There are many fun ways to be physically active outdoors this winter!  So grab your hat and gloves and start planning to enjoy some of these fun traditional, and not so traditional, winter activities.

  • Sledding can be a big calorie burner – think about the energy you use climbing up the steep hill each time, not to mention the core muscles used to steer and stay on your sled! Continue reading

Fidelity and the Math Modules

EngageAs the Network Team Math coordinators and consultants have been facilitating discussions with math teachers around the region who are adopting or adapting the math modules from EngageNY, we’ve heard this comment, over and over again, “I love what my kids are doing with the module content! They are understanding math at a deeper level and can talk about it with their peers, but, it’s taking me so long to teach a lesson! How am I going to get through it all?” The curriculum materials from EngageNY, the math modules, are cumbersome (hundreds of pages long), not teacher friendly (especially at the elementary level where answer keys to the homework and exit tickets are missing) and not student-friendly (once again, especially at the elementary level where print is small and space for writing answers is tight). But…I believe we need to work through all of the negatives, because the positive is so worth it!  It gives me goosebumps when I hear stories from teachers about how their students are doing math work they didn’t think they could do – and work the teachers didn’t think they were conceptually ready for at their age. Stories about students talking about math concepts, the “Why” of math, and not just the “How” (algorithms and procedures), gives me hope that after this first year of frustrating implementation, the road will be smoother. Continue reading

PBL 8 Essentials: Significant Content (and the Common Core)

Common Core GraphicProject Based Learning (PBL) is taking off in CNY!  As we train more and more teachers and administrators, we continue to hear the question, “How do I fit this in?”  We talk to educators about the fact that Common Core is the “WHAT” we want students to know and be able to do and PBL is the “HOW” we are going to get there.  The beauty of PBL is that “Significant Content” and “21st Century Skills” are two of the 8 essentials – essential in the fact that they NEED to be there to make a project be more than just the “Dessert” at the end of a unit. For many years we’ve thought of a project as the alternate to the summative assessment at the END of a unit.  We teach the content, quiz along the way, and then assign a project so the students can show us what they know and what they are able to do.  This is what we call a “Dessert” project because it is at the END of the meal – the end of a unit where students have been digesting the information we feed them. Continue reading

What Tips Professional Development to Classroom Application?

ProfDevI am writing this blog as I am also in the midst of preparing initial budgets and looking at capacity and how OCM BOCES delivers professional development to component schools.   For the 12-13 school year, just the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department provided 130 days of regional professional development.  Much of this is in a traditional model; teachers come to BOCES and work with others for 1-6 days on a given topic.  Additionally 53 days were spent on site in schools- this was a mixture of traditional workshop delivery only within the district as opposed to multiple districts, but other days were spent coaching. Continue reading